First, we should note that the hookup culture is not necessarily about intercourse.Some students in that culture do have sex, but the majority do not. They don’t see themselves necessarily as making sexual decisions.Basically, the hookup culture is a shortcut to fitting in socially, to having social status.If you want to have a story to tell at weekend brunch, where the stories are about who hooked up with whom, then hooking up is a way to do that.The ebb and flow into the hookup scene is motivated largely by a desire for a connection, but it is a desire that is hampered by a lack of courage.The difficult thing is having the simple courage to ask somebody if he or she would want to sit down for an hour and talk.
So the next semester I said, “You cannot pass the class without completing this assignment.” The students needed more direction, and they needed a time frame.Cronin delivering her talk “10 Reasons Why You’re Not Dating and What to Do About It,” in Fenwick Hall, February 8, 2011.Photograph: Caitlin Cunningham Kerry Cronin is a doctoral candidate in philosophy, a fellow at the Center for Student Formation, and associate director of the Lonergan Center, which is Boston College’s resource for studying the works and influences of the 20th century philosopher Bernard Lonergan, SJ.After I started giving talks on dating, I was working with seniors in a one-credit class [Vertices]. Go on a date before the end of the semester.” Though the students got all excited about it, weeks went by.The first semester we talked about all kinds of things: money, affluence, careers, social justice. Of the 14 seniors in the class, only one was dating someone. They talked and talked about dating, but they never did date.Since April 2004, when she led a panel discussion on campus titled “Take Back the Date,” Cronin has emerged as a relationships guru of sorts, speaking to packed student audiences on such topics as “The Imperfect Art of Dating,” “Dating 101,” and “Sex and the Single Student.” She has also taken her message off campus, delivering talks at Fairfield and Case Western universities, among other schools.The title of a talk she gave in February 2011 at Boston College summarizes her direct approach: “10 Reasons Why You’re Not Dating and What to Do About It.” Cronin recently sat for an interview with Amy Frykholm that became the cover story of the January 25 issue of I stumbled into it through conversations with students.Some need help with decisions about that and some don’t.But a larger majority needs help on basic social cues—which the culture doesn’t give them. Students will ask for an appointment and wait weeks to talk to me.About seven or eight years ago, I moderated a student panel on faith, and after the event the students and I talked about graduation and jobs and what they liked or didn’t like about Boston College.Toward the end of the evening, I asked about relationships. Did they feel like they had to break up before graduation or were they planning to date long distance? All these students were bright, intelligent and extroverted. In another era, they would have been actively dating, but all of them reported that they had not dated at all while at college. I pressed them on the matter, and we started talking about the hookup culture.